Friday, April 13, 2012

Shifty, Puffy, Light - Naples Plays No Favourites - ETNZ Team Update Day 3 ACWS Naples

A light and fickle off-shore breeze and a difficult seaway left-over from strong winds of previous days played no favourites on the third day of the America’s Cup World Series in Naples.
Photo: Chris Cameron/ETNZ
First the wind turned the race programme upside down. Match races betwseen Emirates Team New Zealand and Artemis and Energy Team v Luna Rossa S were delayed until after two fleet races were sailed.

Heavy rain played havoc with the breeze which was unstable, shifty and puffy and with huge holes and it failed to build as the afternoon progressed. All the teams suffered, a fact shown in the inconsistent up and down placings in the fleet races..
Photo: Chris Cameron/ETNZ
At the 1:30pm scheduled starting time for the match racing, there was jut not enough wind across the course to get a start. Fleet races started at 2:15 as the breeze turned the form guide upside down. Energy Team won from Oracle Racing 4. Emirates Team New Zealand finished seventh after being penalised twice and being on the wrong side of a couple of windshifts.

Energy Team, which won the firstx race, only managed a seventh in race six and was 6m 14s behind Barker and crew at the finish.
Photo: Chris Cameron/ETNZ
ETNZ finished the day with their overall lead intact - having won four of the six fleet races – and is five points ahead of Oracle Racing 4.

In fleet race five we were over at the start. The resulting penalty took them back through the fleet, then a second penalty was awarded at the mark as the wind died and the fleet bunched and almost stopped and lost steerage.
Photo: Chris Cameron/ETNZ
From the back of the fleet, Barker threaded his way to seventh at the finish to collect valuable points.
Skipper Dean Barker said he was pleased with the way the boys got stuck in and picked up some valuable points.

“Every point counts. Who knows how it will play out by Sunday afternoon?. A single point could decide the regatta,” Barker added.

Race six was the complete opposite of the one that went before. A good start, well placed in the fleet Barker, tactician Ray Davies, wing trimmer Glenn Ashby, bowman Winston Macfarlane and trimmer James Dagg had Jimmy Spithill on Oracle 4 in their sights. By leg six they had passed the boats in front and overtook Spithill.

Oracle 4 was 26s behind, followed by Luna Rossa S at 57. Then the breeze showed its hand. The fourth placed boat was 4m38s adrift of the lead and he last boat to cross was 6m32s off the pace. That was the breeze, not the boats and not the crew.
Photo: Chris Cameron/ETNZ
The match race with Artemis followed. Artemis took the lead early on the first run when the Kiwis ran out of breeze. And that was it. With boat speeds down to two and three knots at times there was no chance of catching Terry Hutchinson and the Swedes.

Warren Douglas
Emirates Team New Zealand

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